France, Paris, Travelling
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Living Like a Local in Paris

Paris Food Market

Travelling is wonderful. You may have cottoned on to the fact that I enjoy a little of it every now and then. A lot of it more precisely. People ask why, they wonder how I can do it all. They also wonder why I do it all.

Why do I do it? I love getting an insight into another culture. I love getting under the skin of how people eat, how they shop for food, what they shop for and how they cook it at home. I love gathering recipes and bringing them home.

I love being inspired by how other people operate, being immersed in a whole different thing for a little while gives you great perspective on your own existence.

Hotels are great, I love them and the luxury they provide. But after a few days I get antsy. I miss my kitchen and I miss being able to cook.  My kitchen keeps me calm, and cooking keeps me sane. When I am stressed or sad my first instinct is to cook.

Paris Food Market

So, when I haven’t cooked for some time I get doleful when I see piles of glistening vegetables in markets, wheels of cheese in cheesemongers and absolutely anything else that I could be cooking or eating at home. I can of course take stuff home but I still miss the process of cooking, of being regularly able to do it.

I was watching the lovely Rachel Khoo’s cookery show, The Little Paris Kitchen, on BBC2 this week and it brought me right back to my Paris trip in December. Where I stayed in a proper house owned by locals (while they were away) and had a kitchen. For a time my life in Paris felt very real. I tweeted lots of pictures and other detail and promised to tell you all about it too. A little belated I have nabbed some time to do it.

Our Montparnasse home

It was a fabulous house, 4 bedrooms and sleeping 7 at a very reasonable £494 per night, much cheaper than a hotel but with lots of luxurious touches and a gorgeous kitchen to cook in. Aspirational for a Londoner with a tiny flat like me.

It was spacious and bright with a large open kitchen and living area and a fantastically stocked kitchen (kitchenaid, good knives, pots, pans etc.). I spent the weekend shopping in markets and local food shops and cooking joyfully when I got home.

Fishmongers at a Paris Food Market

I visited 3 markets that weekend, all nearby, and all food (of course!). The third one was particularly special as we visited on an organised tour with our guide, food writer and chef Camille Labro. Camille was bouyant with knowledge and enthusiasm and brought us through every stall describing everything.

Camille, cooking up a storm

We chose food that caught our eye and then returned home where we cooked up a wonderful feast. Scallops, artichokes and cheese (not together!) were a trinity of culinary highlights that I can still taste when I think of them. There was lots more too.


As I sat and ate it all, supping some wine, I wondered why I had never lived in Paris. I still don’t know, but I feel I might have done for just a few days now.

I travelled to Paris with Housetrip, who rent over 2,400 properties in Paris and 86,440 in other cities all over the world (with an impressive 1,000 being added every week). The properties are owned by locals and rented out when they are away. Our food tour with Camille Labro was organised by Context Travel




  1. Agree completely about needing a kitchen whenever I travel somewhere. I’ve never done that in Paris though and need to! This year I’m gonna make it happen because visiting the markets are tortuous if I look at veg & fish stalls (Ive actually walked past looking away so not to get upset) when staying at hotels. End of summer visit in order. Will happen.

  2. Great post leaving me dreaming of my return to Burgundy for some cycling and eating next month. Nothing better getting home with panniers full of fresh produce. Epoisse hear I come!

  3. wickfreeforever says

    I wiould love to go to another country and get to buy all there wonderful ingredients and make an authentic meal. I am totally envious you must have th perfect job!

  4. Sarah says

    Niamh could you post the details and co-ordinates of the food markets you went to and which is best for what? Would be interested to check some of them out on our next trip to Paris. :-)

  5. Holy Trinity for me are as you said, scallops, artichokes and cheese .The scallops you get in France are amazing and the cheese as we all know,divine, next time I go to Paris i will rent a place with a petite cuisine..

  6. It sounds like you had a really nice time! I watched Rachel Khoo’s programme too and really liked it, her recipes were simply and the Croque Madame muffins looked delicious. I never really cook French food but I think after watching her programme and seeing this post I might give it a try!

  7. Love staying in apartments in other cities – you get to pretend you’re living there. Did it in BA and planning to do it in NYC. Used AirBn’B before but will check out house trip. Also – I want Rachel Khoo’s apartment, bad!

  8. Pingback: Living Like a Local in Williamsburg: NYC Hipster Stylee & Where To Eat of an Evening |

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